Apsa as a new alternative union in higher education sector

NEHAWU has prostituted itself as a sweetheart union ready to sell itself and members to the highest bidder or employer.

Using the heavy protests and strikes of Insourcing, the National Health Education & Allied Workers Union chose the side of the employer against the workers. This happened in all institutions of higher learning as only the Academic and Professional Staff Association of the Universities of South Africa, ( Apsa), together with the EFF Students Command and other forces of change, fought for the insourcing of workers of the service providers from security, cleaners, caterers, gardeners etc.

Nehawu talked one language of the employer, arguing that there is not enough budget and that the insourcing project was expensive and not a sustainable model.

However, it must be said that the real reason Nehawu rejected the project was because its members and those of the ANC are beneficiaries of these tenders.

Apsa has become the workers in the universities and colleges though. We assist any vulnerable worker. Apsa started only at Unisa, and it is known for its service to workers.

We have assisted vulnerable workers at the University of Pretoria, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Tshwane South College, and Unisa who were not our members, but were rejected by Nehawu and other unions.

We have assisted because we understood our responsibility to be the vanguard of the workers everywhere irrespective of membership subscription and scope.

When I started as the general-secretary of Apsa, it was a union of 950 members and only existed at Unisa.

We are currently 2 000 members at Unisa and have 1 100 members at the University of Pretoria, 300 members at the University of Venda, 200 members at Vaal University of Technology, 100 members at Tshwane South College and 300 members at TUT.

We are currently recruiting at the University of Johannesburg, Wits, Walter Sisulu, Fort Hare, University of Limpopo, University of Cape Town, University of North West, and University of Free State.

Of course we are doing ground work in all universities, colleges and the department of higher education.

However, this does not stop us from recruiting from other sectors and to assist workers everywhere as our primary mandate as a trade union.

Our intention as Apsa is to have 300 000 members in 2020.

To make this achievable, we have recruited Sabelo Mhlungu (former Unisa students representative council president and current Unisa Convocation president); Vuyani Pule (former president of the SA Council of Churches Youth Forum); Mpho Morolane (former president of the EFF Students Com- mand); Vusi Oldman Mahlangu (a leader of #OutsourcingMustFall); Amla Monageng and Sam Mphuti (both former former EFF Student Command and #OutsourcingMustFall and #FeesMustFall leaders at University of Pretoria); Kenny Motsamai (PAC struggle hero); and others to form part of Apsa staff.

This recruitment will assist us in having enough strength and capacity to fight the brutal system of exploitation by employers everywhere. We needed time tested officials who are fearless and with capacity, and who cannot be bribed by employers, a problem that Nehawu is facing.

We have won many cases in disciplinary processes and at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and in the #OutsourcingMustFall struggle as we have delivered in three institutions.

We will be intensifying our programme of insourcing in all institutions of higher learning and elsewhere.

We are going to penetrate all institutions of higher learning to make sure that the workers are protected from any form of exploitation, abuse and victimisation.

We are there to protect the rights of the workers and to promote their interests within the ambit of the law.